Leeds: Step back in time with a Dickensian festive treat

Market-goers in period costume go for a stroll at the 2010 Otley event.
Market-goers in period costume go for a stroll at the 2010 Otley event.
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A market town is set to be given a festive blast from the past when its streets are transformed into a Dickensian Christmas experience.

Shopkeepers and stall holders in Otley are dusting off their period costumes once more in time for this year’s Victorian Fair.

Around 16,500 people flocked to the town last year to help celebrate the annual festive extravaganza.

Organisers hope that this year’s 27th Victorian celebrations will be bigger and better than ever.

Steph Lee, who organises the fair, said: “We guarantee this will be largest Fair in its history with many old favourites and some new attractions.“

Otley’s Market Place will be transformed into a giant entertainment space on Sunday, December 9, with a stage where local school children and choirs will fill the air with Christmas carols.

Youngsters will also be able to have their photographs taken with live reindeer and a sleigh.

Over 85 stalls will offer a range of local and handmade goods as well as street entertainment and Morris dancing.

The Old Grammar School will be lined with indoor stalls for the first time in the fair’s history. There will also be prizes and awards for the best dressed shop windows around the town who have captured the spirit of the event.

Steph added: “Once again the Market Place will be the centre of activities for the younger children.

“As darkness falls there 
will be a live fire display on the road at the junction of Boroughgate and Kirkgate so don’t miss it.”

Otley’s Victorian Fair was originally the brainchild of Otley Chamber of Commerce to help give the town’s shops a boost in the run-up to Christmas.

The first fair was held in 1985 and within a couple of years the Chamber of Trade realised that it was a huge success and has run ever since.

Money raised from the fair is distributed between local groups and charities.

For more information about the fair visit: www.victorianfayre.co.uk

Leeds Civic Hall.

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